Its Just the Dutch in Me

I don't know if its just a coincidence or my own heritage, but I constantly find myself gravitating toward the unique designs produced by the Dutch architecture scene--Rem Koolhaus, Bigdk, MVRDV--and the list goes on!  I admire the formal variety and often unexpected use of materials that characterizes many of the Dutch architects that are beginning to surface.  Zaha Hadid will always be my girl when it comes to a monumental statement in form, so it should come as no surprise that her college professor and first employer was Rem Koolhaus.  As well as these architectural heavy-weights, there are many less known architects that have been grabbing my attention and continue to inspire me.  So, this week, I will highlight a different Dutch architect every day.  I hope they will inspire you as well.

Saxo Bank Headquarters
3XN Architects

Saxo Bank is a young internet bank based in Copenhagen.

Interior, Lobby-- From the exterior, I would have never guessed that the interior looked like this.  3XN Architects were able to combine stark rectilinear forms with an an insane spiral staircase without making it look forced...amazing.

Notice how the facade is leaning inward.  It almost looks as if the many levels are wrapping and peeling away from the facade momentarily before continuing their curve.




KAA Restaurant-São Paula, Brazil

Its another busy weekend of work, and I'm craving a little get-a-way.  This São Paula beauty is calling my name.  KAA, a 2010 Wallpaper Design Award winner is a soothing urban oasis designed by Studio Arthur Casas. The lead architect on the project, Arthur Casus uniquely combines a sense of intimacy in the mezzanine within the overall grandeur of the structure itself.  The floor plan and careful furniture arrangement allows easy circulation and contributes to the overall open and lofty design.  

KAA also features a living wall with over 7,000 live plants.  This nicely compliments the vast use of natural materials in the rest of the space.  I could definitely cozy up to a cocktail in one of thier plush lounge chairs.  What  a perfect beginning to the weekend.



If This Were That: Branding and Architecture

Branding in architecture is hardly a new idea.  Much of what we know about ancient civilizations has been communicated through the architecture associated with each culture.  Egypt and Rome, for example, used architecture to express the power associated with their empire.  Napoleon I branded his empire with powerful, sometimes oppressive expressions of dominance.  Cultural values are also carried through in the interior environment.  How do people circulate through a space?  Is their a clear focus or a purposeful sense of ambiguity?  Architects and designers are responsible for addressing these questions as they are designing any type of built form.  The intention of an architect and a designer is much like that of a branding specialist.  Take Nike, for example.  This company has saturated the consumer mind with their ideals.  You will be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't at least heard of Nike.  Most people even have a sense of who
Nike is as a company--who their target market is and how they want to reach them.  Modern architects such as Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry have also developed a certain sense of "brand".  With just a little background on either of these amazing architects, you can recognize a Hadid or Gehry form almost immediately.  So, what would Nike look like through the eyes of Zaha Hadid?  How about Gehry?  Take a look at a few fun comparisons...

Nike and Zaha Hadid

JS Bach Chamber Music Hall:

Frank Gehry and Nike

MIT Stata Center by Frank Gehry:

Always be true to who you are as a designer, and if you're lucky, your client might find you.

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